Tamil Nadu Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act, 1947
(Tamil Nadu Act 31 of 1947)
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY 6
(a) "dedication" means the performance of any ceremony, by whatever name called, by which a woman is dedicated to the service of a Hindu deity, idol, object of worship, temple or other religious institution, and includes 'pottu-kattu', 'gajjepuja', 'mudri', and dancing by 'Kumbhaharathy';
(b) "devadasi" means any woman so dedicated;
(c) "woman" means a female of any age.3. Dedication as devadasi to be unlawful. - (1) The dedication of a woman as a devadasi, whether before or after the commencement of this Act and whether she has consented to such dedication or not, is hereby declared unlawful and void; and any woman so dedicated shall not, thereby, be deemed to have become incapable of entering into a valid marriage. Nothing contained in this sub-section shall be deemed to affect the operation of [section 34 of the [Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951 (Madras Act XIX of 1951)]] or the rights to which a devadasi is entitled under that section. (2) Any custom or usage prevailing in any Hindu community such as the Bogum, Kalavanthula, Sani, Nagavasulu, Devadasi and Kurmapulu, that a woman of that community who gives or takes part in any melam (nautch), dancing or music performance in the course of any procession or otherwise is thereby regarded as having adopted a life of prostitution and becomes incapable of entering into a valid marriage and the performance of any ceremony or act in accordance with any such custom or usage, whether before or after the commencement of this Act and whether the woman concerned has consented to such performance or not, are hereby declared unlawful and void. (3) Dancing by a woman, with or without kumbhaharathy, in the precincts of any temple or other religious institution, or in any procession of a Hindu deity, idol or object of worship installed in any such temple or institution or at any festival or ceremony held in respect of such a deity, idol or object of worship, [xxx] is hereby declared unlawful. [xxx] 4. Penalty. - (1) Any person having attained the age of sixteen years who after the commencement of this Act performs, permits, takes part in, or abets the performance of any ceremony or act for dedicating a woman as a devadasi or any ceremony' or act of the nature referred to in section 3, sub-section (2), shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine, which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both. Explanation. - The person referred to in this section shall include the woman in respect of whom such ceremony or act is performed. (2) Any person having attained the age of sixteen years who dances in contravention of the provisions of section 3, sub-section (3), or who abets dancing in contravention of the said provisions, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both. 5. Cognizance and trial of offences. - No Court inferior to that of a Presidency Magistrate or a Magistrate of the First Class shall inquire into or try any offence punishable under section 4. According to clauses (a) and (c) of sub-section (3) of section 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Central Act 2 of 1974), which came into force on the 1st April 1974, any reference to a Magistrate of the first class shallbe construed as a reference to a Judicial Magistrate of the first class and any reference to a Presidency Magistrate shall be construed as a reference to a Metropolitan Magistrate.